The legal online gambling market in Ontario has proven quite a success as it’s brought in revenue of $162 million in its first three months.
That is according to iGaming Ontario (iGO), an agency within the province set up to manage said market. The agency published the above numbers in late August and has said it will continue to disclose quarterly data as it pertains to online gambling therein.
iGO has reported that folks from Ontario bet $4.1 million during the quarter that ended on June 30, with nearly 500,000 active accounts created and an average player spend of $113 per month.
The aforementioned total is the amount legal operators were able to bring in as profit, after paying out player winnings, and not what the government is set to receive.
According to Thestar.com, iGO has confirmed that licensed operators are to pay 20 percent tax, which should mean the government will be paid around $32 million.
Canadian Gaming Association CEO Paul Burns says, while there is room to grow, the figure is “a positive reflection of interest in the market.” Burns has also suggested that the numbers will rise in future quarters given that a number of well-known sportsbooks, such as Betway and PokerStars, had not yet become part of the market in Ontario during the quarter, or until late July and even August.
Caesars Online Casino is now open for business in Ontario, while Bet365, DraftKings, and BetMGM have all registered to become legal operators within the province and will bring lots of pre-existing user accounts.
There’s also the fact that the NFL season is soon to get underway, with games poised to come thick and fast as of September 8.The NFL is known to have a profound influence on betting markets all over the world and is very likely to prompt even more wagering in the coming months.
There were 18 operators and 31 igaming websites registered to operate in Ontario as of June 30. As of late August, there were 23 operators and 40 websites. Do note that some operators are responsible for more than one website.
Ontario is also the first province in Canada to kick off a legal online betting system for private operators. This was done in an effort to ramp up economic development and create tax profits from an industry that was unregulated, as well as protect users.The only legal online option in Ontario, prior to the market launch on April 4, was the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG), which did not really offer protection as there was hardly any enforcement as it pertains to other websites. This prompted Ontarians to wager on sports and play casino games on private gambling sites.
It’s been estimated that grey-market operators accounted for around 70 percent of the money Ontario residents spent on gambling every year. The OLG declared revenue of $295 million for its digital gambling section for the 2020/21 fiscal year while $406 million was reported for the previous five-year period.
Sports betting ads have also become very prominent on television, radio, and online since the legal market came into play.
“Part of creating a regulated market is allowing people to advertise,” Burns said in response to questions relating to the frequency of ads.
“I think the operators are balanced in their approach, there are ads about player tools for managing your play and responsible gaming advertising as part of their advertising mix,” he said.
A news release from iGO said the figures (both money and the number of player accounts) “suggest that people in Ontario are interested in the strong player and anti-money laundering protections that are being offered in the regulated market.”
“That said, we are encouraged by the results so far and the number of operators who have made Ontario a priority market for their businesses,” iGO added.
Some expect Ontario to make over $800 million by the end of the calendar year. The province has a population of 14.2 million and, had it been part of the U.S, would have been the fifth-most populous state. Only California, Texas, Florida, and New York have more people than Ontario. Pennsylvania is the actual fifth-most populous and brought in over $500 million in legal gaming revenue last year.
Ontario is tipped to be the next big market player.
“Ontario is like 40% of the population of the country,” Aubrey Levy, the senior vice-president of marketing and content and head of esports at theScore, remarked. “Without question, Ontario is the big prize for now.”
Ontario is touted to rank second to New York in sports betting revenue, with Deloitte Canada predicting the market could bring in close to CA$28 billion in the next five years given the population and market potential.